There’s one more destination I want to tell you about from my recent trip to Kolkata. Pareswanath Temple is a jewel of serenity.
My guide Anup Saha suggested we visit the temple and I’m so glad he did. As we walked up Badridas Temple Street in northeast Kolkata, I had no idea what to expect. The pathway is uncharacteristically immaculate. The doors on the left open into living quarters for Jain monks and nuns who live in the area near and beside Pareswanath Temple. The area is scrupulously clean.
This was my first visit to a Jain temple, and Pareswanath Temple is one of the most revered shrines in Kolkata, famous for its enthralling beauty and spiritual atmosphere.
As one approaches across the inlaid mosaic courtyard,
two lions guard the gate.
Just to the right inside the gate is this elephant with two riders.
Already I was impressed by this truly unique temple. Then I looked to my left to see the beautiful gardens that surround the temple complex.
Serenity in the middle of Kolkata. Beautiful color amongst the grey.
Pareswanath Temple is a jewel among its surroundings. Startling in its exterior beauty. [Yes, that’s me under the hat.]
Cross the courtyard to enter this temple built by Jain Rai Badridas Bahadoor Mookim in 1867.
The main shrine is dedicated to 10th Jain Avatar Sri Sitainath Ji. The deity Lord Shitainathji sits in the sanctum sanctorum, his forehead studded with diamonds.
The lamp fueled with ghee has burned continuously since 1867.
The interior dazzles with its intricate tiles, and paintings. Note the tiles on the right – not exactly traditional designs.
Chrystal chandeliers hang from intricately decorated ceilings.
In Kolkata’s bustle and traffic, it’s hard to believe such a serene place can exist. Perhaps that’s the point.
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Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.
Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.